Feb 23, 2023

Maintaining IT Redundancy: Tips and Best Practices

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Maintaining IT Redundancy: Tips and Best Practices

Maintaining a true redundancy system in your IT infrastructure is essential to prevent downtime and ensure system availability. Redundant components such as power supplies, network gears, servers, and racks are necessary, but they can still fail even with proper design, configuration, and testing. To ensure that your redundant system remains functional, consider the following tips:

  • Appoint a Chief Technology Officer or similar role to oversee the system and shift load from one component to another periodically. This helps to ensure redundancy is maintained and problems can be addressed proactively.
  • Regularly test the redundancy of your system by shifting the load to the secondary system, then temporarily disabling the primary system, and ensuring that the system can operate without interruption. This helps identify weaknesses and correct them before they become problematic.
  • Ensure redundancy is maintained when making changes to your IT infrastructure system. Establish a board of people who can review changes and approve them to keep redundancy in mind.
  • Consider using automated failover mechanisms to ensure your system can continue to operate even in the event of a failure. Test failover mechanisms during maintenance windows when user activity is low and the team is available to fix any issues.

Remember, even with redundant systems, there is always a risk of failure. Ongoing maintenance and testing are critical to maintaining true redundancy.

Here are two examples of how we maintained redundancy for our customers:

  • One of our customers had two large switches with dual power supplies. To keep the system intact, we shifted the data flow from the primary switch to a secondary one. When we replaced the failed power supply, the remaining supply also failed, but our previous action helped prevent any interruption in the system.
  • Another customer had two racks of network gears. We switched the data flow from one rack to another and back every three months to make sure that redundancy was still in place.

Additional tips include implementing geographic redundancy by distributing redundant components across different data centers or locations, documenting your redundancy plan, and reviewing and updating it regularly. Ensure your redundancy plan considers all possible failure scenarios and conduct regular risk assessments to identify potential weaknesses. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your redundant system remains functional, avoiding costly downtime.

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